Oh dear. Not only are plenty of comments on Ben White’s latest article on CiF disappearing pretty quickly, but Ben White has joined Stephen Sizer in turning off comments on his blog. Why? Ben White can understand anti-Semites, but can’t understand Zionists? Oh dear.
Anyway, this comment from Zkharya really deserves an airing, especially if you’re interested in the theology behind all this:
‘[…]as regards “White does use loaded words e.g.Aparthied to buttress his message;however,he does not convey an anti-Israel mindset(@ least not in this piece)”, anyone who has been following White over the years knows of his repeatedly essentiallizing Zionism as the evil at the heart of this conflict. His latest book/pamphlet, aimed at a mass market, attempts to spread a gospel of Zionism as an essentially predatory evil, with Zionist Jews as predatory colonial dispossessors/crucifiers of innocent Palestinian Muslims and Christians.
Nur Masalha’s commendation is interesting because he was highly influenced by his mentor, Michael Prior, who concocted a Palestinian Christian (and, by extension, Muslim) liberation theology, which held Modern Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews had expelled Palestinian Christians and Muslims, just like the ancient Israelites expelled the Canaanites. And there was more than a nasty hint that they were crucifying (Palestinian) Christ, all over again.
It was a deadly concuction of ancient genocide and cosmically criminal crucifixion conflated with modern ethnic cleansing. I am not saying White expresses (at least, not overtly), but it is interesting, as I said, that on Amazon, Nur Masalha’s is the first and most glowing commendation.
White sneers at writers like Howard Jacobson, when the latter draws an equivalence between Jewish and Palestinian Muslim and Christian desire for restoration and return, calling him what he (White) calls a “liberal Zionist”:
Here he derides even liberal Zionism, suggesting that he holds no brief for even limited Jewish nationalism i.e. he denies Jews exactly what he accords his fellow Palestinian Christians, and, by extension, Muslims.
In a Christian, whose Christianity has held Jews to be a nation dispossessed for 2000 years, in no small part resulting in their being mostly murdered or expelled from Christendom and Islam in the 19th and 20th centuries, before 1914 mostly to America, after mostly to Palestine or what became Israel, I think this the height of hypocrisy, since, as I said, he claims to seek a specifically Christian justice:
He allots Zionist or Jewish national aspirations no legitimacy whatsoever, essentializing them as what he calls “colonialism”, recognises no legitimate Jewish national desire for restoration and return, and privileges the claims of Palestinian Christians and Muslims above all others, effectively absolving them of, or ignoring, any serious wrong doing contributory to their own demise.
As someone who professes to be a Christian interested in a just peace, he finds fault with Zionist, Palestinian or Israeli Jews in just about everything, while forgiving Palestinian Christians and Muslims just aboout everything, which fact I find at best a double standard, at worst hypocrisy.
His understanding of the history of the conflict is, I think, shallow and one-sided, and decidedly skewed in favour whose cause he espouses.
Fine. But don’t don’t pretend this is fair, impartial or balanced history, let alone a sober academic account, least of all peacemaking, as he disingenously claims. It is polemic. I think hypocritical polemic.’